The MVP award has been around since 1956 when Bob Pettit won the inaugural edition. Since then, it has been used as a determining factor in legacy. Unfortunately, there are some cases where the MVP may not have gone to the right person. Here are three players who were snubbed for the MVP.
Oscar Robertson 1962
Actual MVP: Bill Russell
When Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for a full season(then did it three more times), he matched the record that only one man had done before. That man was Oscar Robertson. In the 1961-1962 season, he averaged a triple-double, with 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. Despite this insane season, he missed out on the MVP award. That award went to Bill Russell, who averaged 18.9/23.6/4.5 for the best team in the league, the Boston Celtics. While averaging near 20/20 a game is incredible, Robertson not getting rewarded for his record-breaking year was an injustice. However, there is one main reason why this awesome season wasn’t rewarded. His Cincinnati Royals were just not that good. Despite Robertson’s unbelievable play, they had just 43 wins and were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round by the Detroit Pistons. Luckily, Robertson did well enough in 1964(31.4/9.9/11.0) to win an MVP.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1973
Actual MVP: Dave Cowens
One of the early examples of voter fatigue, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was ridiculously robbed of his third straight MVP in 1973. After winning back-to-back MVPs, Kareem didn’t slow down. In 1973, he averaged a crazy 30.2 points, 16.1 rebounds and 5 assists. This was enough to lead the Bucks to 60 wins, so he wasn’t just putting up inflated numbers on a terrible team. Despite his insane numbers, it wasn’t enough to convince the voters, who gave it to Celtics center Dave Cowens. Cowens had led the Celtics to a jawdropping 68 wins that year, the second-best all-time at that point. He had averaged 20.5/16.2/4.1 for the Celtics that year. Those are incredible numbers, but KAJ was clearly better.
Wilt Chamberlain 1962
Actual MVP: Bill Russell
Something wrong happened when there were two snubs for the MVP in one season. Chamberlain had possibly the greatest season of all time individually, yet didn’t win anything that year. He averaged 50.4 points, 25.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Despite easily beating Russell in all statistics besides assists, Russell won the award due to the success his Celtics had compared to Wilt’s Warriors. Even though Wilt was having this sort of season, the Warriors won just 49 games that year. Even then, it feels kind of weird that Wilt didn’t win MVP. They won nearly 50 games that season, and Wilt was averaging 50/25/2 that season. Even if their record was holding them back, Wilt still had 23.1 WS, proving he was doing his part and having an elite season. Overall, this is the worst MVP snub in the history of the NBA.